Yo Yoga! is home to a cozy Upper East Side one-room studio gem, and on Wednesday evenings at 6:45pm Stephanie Compton packs the room with boisterous personality and charm. This 60-minute open level evening class was the perfect escape to challenge the limits of a busy workday.
With a rainbow of mat colors lining the room, Stephanie started us in a comfortable seat, eyes closed, focusing on stillness. “Continue to focus on your breath,” Stephanie said, “as I chime us into class.” The soothing sounds of a Tibetan singing bowl sent vibrations through the room and into my body.
We practiced a few arm stretches and neck rolls in sukhasana before coming into plank pose, and then slowly moving into adho mukha svanasana. “Pedal out the knees or move the hips around,” Stephanie instructed. “Challenge the limits of your mobility.”
We started to flow through a few rounds of suryanamaskar A adding in abdominal work in plank pose and quad work in virabhadrasana one and two. Stephanie’s energy continued to be playful and enthusiastic, even when holding utkatasana with the class for what felt like an eternity. “Smile! We’re having fun,” she reminded us.
Stephanie gave us a moment to catch our breath as she demoed donkey kicks, aka handstand prep, in the front of the room, instructing with precise alignment and breath cues. The room started to shake with each hop, beginning to feel more like a playground than a yoga studio. “Kick those heels to your seat!” Stephanie yelled.
We took a break in child’s pose as Stephanie changed the music from high-energy tunes to more slow jams. We rolled onto our backs and cooled down with some back openers including setu bandha sarvangasana and salamba sarvangasana. Her voice started to soften and the lights dimmed as we found our way back to breath for some deep stretches before savasana.
Stephanie challenged us to push our limits of relaxation as we fully surrendered our bodies into the floor. She read a quote from a Pema Chodron book guiding my mind into a philosophical slumber and my body into a deep place of rest. Finally, the room fell as silent as the busy chatter in my mind.
Stephanie remained seated on her mat, with a soft smile, holding the space with poise. Briefly, it felt as if the entire room was connected to the same breath cycle, void of any separation limitations from one another.
—Ashley Rose Howard for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $22, with $2 yoga mat rentals available. New students can try for one unlimited month.
Wednesday 6:45-7:45pm Open
Yo Yoga! 344 E. 59th St., 2nd Fl New York, NY 10022 (646) 490-7790